Archive | Food RSS feed for this section

Yoga AND Sailing? Yes please!

28 Oct

I’m so happy to announce that I will be co-leading the first retreat hosted by Viveka Yoga, my home away from home in Lachine. From March 10th-17th 2015, The wonderful Marlène Graveline-Leduc and I will be sailing away with a group of sailors/yogis to explore the Exumas in the Bahamas. Marlène and I will be offering 2 yoga classes per day, on different beaches in the Exumas. We will also be offering vegan food and cooking workshops, meditation sessions, and the chance to connect to a powerful community while sailing the open seas!

If you are interested in joining this adventure and becoming part of this community, please get in touch! Spots are extremely limited!

Poster

I see so many parallels between yoga and sailing – living in the moment, letting go of control, listening to your intuition. Living on a sailboat for 7 days will also be an incredible experience in sangha (community) as we share food, share space, and share bathrooms…! I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to share my passions with a group of people in such an exotic locale, and I’m also looking forward to a little digital detoxing. Disconnecting from social media and emails, and connecting to the ocean and sandy beaches will definitely be welcome!

Let’s escape winter together! Mark your calendars for March 10th-17th 2015, and get in touch with us to reserve a spot!

 

 

 

“Good morning, Good morning, it’s great to see you too!”

12 Aug

“Good morning, Good morning, to YOU!”

For the past couple of months, I have been practicing a morning ritual that really sets the tone for my day. It helps me create intention, harness positive thoughts and energies, and makes me feel prepared to go out into the world and leave my mark. I love it so much that I felt compelled to put it on “paper” (aka my little blog) and share it with you all.

My alarm rouses me at 7AM, and I roll out of bed, straight onto my meditation bolster. Inspired by a meditation I did on Yogaglo with Amy Ippoliti, I meditate for 15 minutes, preparing my meditation timer for 5 minute intervals. For the first 5 minutes, I meditate on gratitude, and write down 3-4 things I am grateful for on that morning. For the next 5 minutes, I practice ujjayi pranayama, or victorious breath. You begin by closing the back of your throat just enough to make an audible sound with your breath, not unlike the sound of the ocean… or Darth Vader. Many have likened it to making the sound “HA”, but with your mouth closed. This breath stimulates me, wakes me up, and opens my lungs for the day ahead. It also helps me soften any tight areas from my sleep. The last 5 minutes I dedicate to sitting in silence with a quiet, mindful breath, observing my breath as it flows through the body.

Once I complete my 15-minute sit, I am ready to fuel my body. I make my way to the kitchen and pour a HUGE glass of water to replenish and hydrate my body after 8 hours of sleep. As I’m sipping my water, I prepare my favorite breakfast, a big green juice. My favorite recipe these days is sweet, grassy, and delicious.

You will need:

1 apple

1 cucumber

A couple of stems of kale

A couple of stems of spinach

A couple of stems of romaine

1 carrot

½ a lemon

Throw everything in your juicer, and enjoy!

These mindful actions make me feel nourished in body and spirit and prepared to face the world with a positive attitude. They make me feel like I am tapping into my inner happiness, greeting the day softly and with lots of gratitude and love.

What are your favorite morning rituals? Share in the comments below!

Janu-freakin-ary

21 Jan

Hello January. It’s cold. My feet get cold when I try to wear cool spring boots. I’m dreaming of sun, sandy beaches and heat. In the midst of this cold front, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to stay present with winter. I’ve been finding my mind drifting to summer plans, vacations and wishes of flip flops every time I stop to think.

Amidst these feelings, I have been integrating more mindfulness into my daily life by taking the time to enjoy the warm comfort of a hot cup of tea, cuddling in jogging pants and woolly socks, and trying my hardest to become friends with the cold by any means possible. I’ve also become so grateful for the heat of my yoga practice, in a hot room or otherwise. There’s nothing like the feeling of coming out of the cold and into a room heated to 40 degrees to warm you up from the core all the way to the fingers and toes. I also noticed that the minute I enter periods of high stress or challenges, my meditation practice really takes a beating. When I need it the most, I turn away from my daily sit, coming up with excuses not to quiet my mind. This realization coincides perfectly with a new meditation challenge I just signed up for on Tuja Wellness. If you know me, you know my “type A” personality loves a good structured challenge, so I jumped at the chance to join. One of my first yoga teachers, an inspirational and wonderful Montreal-based yoga teacher named Dawn Mauricio, is facilitating the challenge along with a handful of wellness experts. My intention when I signed up is to use this challenge to reintegrate a daily meditation practice to my routine. Check out the challenge here, and join! Let’s do it together!

In other news, my immune system took a beating this Holiday season as everyone around me was all virus-y. I managed to come out of the Holidays with “only” a throat infection, which I fought valiantly with lots of hot water with lemon, ginger, and oil of oregano. (THANK YOU, ERICA, FOR THIS MIRACLE OIL. FOR REAL – MIRACLE WORKER.) These past weeks, I’ve been building my immune system back up with a daily green smoothie, lots of garlic and ginger, and a warm glass of water with lemon to start the day. My favorite smoothie of the moment is a tart combo of greens and fruit. I’m loving it!

Green Kiss smoothie

1 cup coconut water (or more, depending on how good your blender is…)

½ an avocado

1 cup frozen or fresh mango

Juice of 1 lemon (or peel the lemon and throw it in for extra tartness)

1 large handful of kale

1 tbsp ground flax seeds

A squirt of agave nectar (optional)

Throw all ingredients in a blender and blend!

The avocado gives the smoothie a little fat, so it keeps me full longer! It also makes the consistency soooo creamy. I don’t add agave, because I like my smoothies tart, but if you’re not into that type of thing, add some sweetener! The cool thing about green smoothies is you can mix and match lots of different combos. If you don’t have kale, sub for spinach! If you don’t have mango, throw in pineapple! I like using coconut water as a base because it is super hydrating, but you can try your favorite non-dairy milk or just plain water if you are running low on supplies. Having a green smoothie for breakfast gives me so much energy, and also gives me a healthy dose of greens to start the day. If you’re new to green smoothies, start small. Add lots of fruit, and just a little bunch of greens. As your taste buds adjust, start lowering your ratio of fruit, and increasing your ratio of greens. The greener, the better!

No Shampoo Week 1 – Undecided…

17 Sep

… and what a busy week 1 it’s been. I did not think the timing of this challenge through, as i had an event on Sunday where doing my hair was necessary, and I have 3 birthday events next week that require clean-ish hair as well… Woops.

Since the beginning of the challenge, i have washed my hair twice. I’m aiming to wash it every 4 days. I’m at day 4 today, and I’ve got to say it’s feeling pretty greasy. I’m so looking forward to washing it tonight. I knew this would happen, as all the blogs I’ve read about this method mention that 1-2 week period at the start where your hair goes through a sort of detox – readjusting to natural cleanser and lack of chemicals. However, the first three days after washing my hair were glorious! My hair has never felt so healthy, and never looked so vibrant! I washed it on Friday night, air dried it, and straightened it on Saturday morning and Sunday morning for events. It looked GREAT! I didn’t need any hair styling products to get it to stay in place, and it felt clean and light. So the preliminary verdict this early in the challenge is: awesome hair for days 1 through 3, greasy hair on day 4. Hopefully, my hair will re-adjust soon so day 4 can be just as glorious!

In other news, i can confidently state that my hair stops smelling of apple cider vinegar the minute it starts to air dry. (Thank god.) I’ve read posts where people suggest to put essential oils in the ACV mixture to mask the smell, but I’m cool with the straight up mix. I’m just hardcore like that, you know?

I’ve read that avocado is very good for your scalp and hair, so I’ve been incorporating it into my morning smoothie. My current obsession is the following mix – it’s so good!

Ingredients

1 cup coconut water

1/2 of an avocado

2-3 stems of kale (keep the stems on if your blender can handle it – they’re packed with nutrients)

1/2 cup-1 cup of frozen or fresh mango

1 tbsp chia or flax or hemp seeds

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Directions

Throw into your blender and blend!

The avocado brings a creaminess to the smoothie that I’m loving! If you find the smoothie too tart, throw in a squeeze or 2 of agave nectar!

“Good Morning!” Granola Bars

9 Apr

Hello, little blog – I have neglected you! I just noticed my last post dated back to October 2011! Ugh.

Let’s get back into the swing of blogging with a killer breakfast recipe! VEGAN GRANOLA BARS! EEEEK!

(Adapted from: http://www.blogher.com/recipe-vegan-granola-bars )

You will need:

1 1/4 cups of puffed brown rice cereal (I use Nature’s path brand, it has no added anythings!)

1 cup quick cooking oats

2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds or hemp seeds

1 tsp ginger (optional)

½ cup ground / crushed nuts (we use cashews, but any nuts will do. I tried it with almonds and it was delish. Just make sure they’re unsalted nuts.)

¼ cup of pure maple syrup

2 tbsp water

½ cup natural peanut butter

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Mix puffed rice, oats, flax/hemp and nuts in a big bowl.

On the stove top, melt peanut butter, maple syrup and water on medium heat. Stir constantly until the peanut butter has melted and looks incorporated into the maple syrup. Once you have a creamy, smooth consistency, take off heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour the creamy mixture into the granola mixture and mix well. It gets super sticky, so I mix with my hands to get the dry fully incorporated into the wet. Once everything is mixed, pat into a baking dish or muffin tins. Pat really firmly so the granola will condense and take the shape of the tin. If you don’t pat firmly, it will crumble when you unmold or cut. Cover the dish / tin and refrigerate. Give them a night to harden in the fridge before you try to cut or unmold.

This recipe makes approx. 10 muffin molds or 1 8×8 baking dish. They’re optimally good for 1 week refrigerated, then they start to go hard. They’re still edible, but more crumbly. (the perfect consistency to crumble over fruit!) The fiancé likes vegan chocolate chips in his – if that’s your thing, add the chocolate with the dry ingredients.

These granola bars sustain me until lunch – they’re packed with healthy fats and nutrient-dense foods. If i have both on hand, i like to put 1 tbsp flax and 1 tbsp hemp instead of one or the other. Both flax and hemp are great vegan sources of omega 3s!

Recipe testing, new yoga class and post-half-marathon high, OH MY!

27 Oct
I run for Animals!

PETA Pack for the win!

This past month has brought many highs amidst a devastating low. I completed my first half-marathon, despite my stupid knee acting up, and it was one of the greatest personal accomplishments EVER. I raised 750$ for PETA, and completed the race 30 minutes shy of my expected time! Not only was my experience with PETA Pack an incredible one, but the organization and efficiency of the Oasis Marathon organizers and volunteers made Race Day a very special, smooth and inclusive event for everyone. To all my friends and family: if anyone is interested in joining the team next year, please let me know! Let’s start training early, together, and run the race as a group!

As much as i enjoyed my pre-race training, i was happy and excited to return to my yoga practice. When i started training for the half-M, i vowed to continue practicing yoga on a daily basis. I failed. My practice dwindled to once a week (if i was lucky). It was gross. I was gross. My hips were tight, my shoulders were stiff, and i was kind of an emotional wreck. Adding to this was the fact that i was teaching 2 classes a week, which made me feel like a yogic hypocrite. As i entered Moksha yoga for my first class back in 3 months, a look of shame was clearly written all over my face. Even before we prepared for our first downward dog, i knew this class would be a disaster. A wonderful, eye-opening, sweaty disaster, but a disaster nonetheless. By the end of that class, i left the studio with shaking arms, a sore core and the biggest smile ever on my face. I had returned home. Just like returning home after an extended absence, the familiarity of the practice was there, but it was surrounded by change. I embraced the shaking of my legs in Warrior 2, I relished in the screaming of my hips during any and every forward bend we went into. There was so much stiffness in my body, so many points of tension. I felt like i was rediscovering yoga asana all over again. And it was awesome. Though i initially felt frustration at having let my practice slip during training, i have begun to discover that taking a step back, to then revisit my practice, has offered me a whole new journey of self-exploration.

Reuniting with my asana practice has been a welcome addition to my weekly schedule, as has the addition of a morning yoga class to my teaching schedule. Starting next week (November 2nd) I will be teaching a morning yoga class at FlowSpace, a wonderful space in the historic Union Francaise building. If you or anyone in your circle is interested in yoga before work, this class is for you. I’m hoping its proximity to the downtown core will attract 9-to-5ers, as us office workers can always benefit from the awesomeness of yoga! (I don’t know about you, but Computers give me Stiff Shoulders.) It’s better than coffee, i swear! For a look at my complete teaching schedule, please click on the option under the “About” header.

On the food front, I’ve signed on to test recipes for one of my favorite vegan cookbook authors, Terry Hope Romero. I’ll be posting lots of food pics once i start testing; I’m really looking forward to getting started!

To celebrate Halloween, i have tried incorporating pumpkin into soup and desserts. The soup (roasted pumpkin soup) was awesome, the dessert (pumpkin brownies) was a huge fail. I literally had to scrape the pumpkin layer off the brownie crust and throw it out, so as to salvage the brownie part. It was messy to make, messy to eat, and messy to dispose of. I should have known better than to try and change a good thing; brownies are the cat’s pajamas on their own, with no need for a layer of gelatinous pumpkin to dress them up.

The soup, however, was warming and spicy; perfect for crisp fall lunches.

Garlicky Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil

1 small pumpkin

1 full head of garlic (to ward off vampires, of course)

1 medium yellow onion

2 sweet potatoes

1 carrot

1 regular potato

1/2 cup red lentils

6 cups veggie broth

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon of cayenne powder or crushed red chili flakes (optional)

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the pumpkin in half through the middle and scoop out the seeds and stringy parts. You can keep the seeds for roasting if you’re into that. Cut the garlic in half through the middle, keeping the white outer layer on. Drizzle olive oil on inside of the pumpkin halves, rubbing it on the flesh. Rub olive oil on the exposed flesh of the garlic as well. Place the pumpkin halves side by side on a parchement-lined baking sheet, flesh side down, with the garlic halves under the pumpkin halves. Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes, until tender. (WARNING: It’s going to smell soooo good.)

While the pumpkin is roasting, prep your other ingredients. Chop onion into little pieces. Peel sweet and regular potatoes, and chop into small pieces. Peel and chop carrot into small pieces.

Once pumpkin is ready, get out your favorite soup pot. Cover the bottom with a couple of swooshes of olive oil. Throw in the onion. Cook the onion on med-high heat for 5 minutes, until soft. While the onion is cooking, scoop out the flesh from the pumpkin, discarding the skin. Put in a bowl and reserve. In your soup pot, throw in the carrots and cook for a couple of minutes more. Throw in the potatoes, lentils and pumpkin. Take your sweet, delicious roasted garlic bulbs. Grab the bulb halves from the top and squeeze the bulbs out of their skin into the pot. Add all the spices and cover with broth. Turn the heat to med-low and let simmer, partially-covered, for at least 45 minutes. Once the potatoes are tender, you are ready to mash this soup into potage form. Take the cauldron off the heat and grab your handheld masher (electric or potato masher). Mash the soup until it reaches a creamy consistency, or leave it a little lumpy if that’s your thing.

Put pot back on heat, and heat soup on med-low heat for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy!

You can sprinkle pumpkin seeds or walnuts on top before serving, it gives the soup a delicious crunch.

I wonder if our neighborhood will get many trick-or-treaters? I wonder if the trick-or-treaters will stage a mutiny against me if i give out vegan fruit chews or carrot sticks?

Week 3: Granola makes me happy…

13 Jul

Week 3 of training for the Montreal 1/2 marathon brings with it some pretty intense runs. I’m going to be honest here, i have never run 4.8 km (3 miles) steadily, without breaking into a walk midway. My training schedule had me slated for a 3 mile run on Sunday, as well as Monday and Thursday of this week. I’m not going to lie; i was nervous.

As i departed from the warm comfort of my home, where my B was still snuggled comfortably amidst the sheets, i thought to myself “Wow, Sara, you’re running at 8AM on a Sunday morning. You’re wacko.” However, as i comfortably settled into a nice jog, i found myself loving the crisp morning air, relishing in the small rays of sunlight poking out through the clouds, and becoming entranced by the sound my feet made as they hit the pavement. As i passed fellow joggers, we exchanged small smiles, as if we were all in this together, part of some special club of AM wackos. I found myself loving the feel of my body slowly waking up from fingertips down to toes as my pace quickened. I’d be lying if i said the 3 miles flew by effortlessly, but i was able to complete the whole run without slowing down to a walk!

As i embarked on my second 3 mile run yesterday, knowing that i was able to complete the distance Sunday made the run so much less intimidating. I again completed the 3 mile run at a steady pace, without stopping to walk, and on top of that, i beat Sunday’s time by a handful of seconds! As a long-time asthma sufferer whose symptoms pretty much disappeared once i took up yoga, i am surprised my lungs are not causing me discomfort. Not once in my training have i felt wheezy or short of breath. As i run, i keep remembering my yogic breathing, which helps sustain my pace throughout my runs.

On the food front, i’ve been going nutso for granola. My new breakfast fix has been a huge bowl of granola goodness, made with Sunburst granola found at Fleur Sauvage. This granola contains rolled oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, pure vanilla, raisins, almonds and no artificial un-pronounceable stuff! The flax and chia seeds sustain me throughout my morning, and the dried fruit give me that little burst of sweetness i sometimes crave in the AM.

Breakfast Bowl of Awesome

Ingredients:

1 cup berries (i’ve been using strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)

1/3 cup granola

a small handful dried fruit (apricots!! YUM!)

1/2 cup non-dairy milk, or more if you like your granola soft

Directions:

Throw fruit, granola and dried fruit in a bowl. Pour milk over mixture and enjoy!

I’ve also taken to sprinkling some extra flax seeds on top, to boost the nutritional content, though if your granola contains flax seeds already, you’re good to go!

In case you’d like to support me in my efforts, please head on over to my personal fundraising page. Please remember that PETA’s research and investigations team needs all the help they can get to fight for animal rights not only in the food industry, but also when it comes to pet abuse and neglect, inhumane treatment in the entertainment and circus industry, as well as in the medical experiment and clothing industry. You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to support their efforts, and any money you can spare will go a long way!